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Botulism botch-up: Nutricia ponders legal action

Nutricia Managing Director Corine Tap said 'the company is still considering its legal position. Photo / Chris Gorman
Nutricia Managing Director Corine Tap said 'the company is still considering its legal position. Photo / Chris Gorman

Baby formula maker Nutricia says it still considering whether to take legal action over the Fonterra botulism scare.

Nutricia was hit hard by the false alarm when it had to recall all of its Karicare Stage 1 new baby formula and Karicare Gold+ Stage 2 follow on formula products earlier this month.

The recall was later narrowed to batches manufactured between May 21 and August 2 this year.

At a press conference in Wellington this morning, Nutricia Australia New Zealand general manager Corine Tap said the company was considering whether it would seek compensation or pursue legal action against Fonterra or AgResearch.

"We are considering our legal position,'' she said.

Nutricia had manufactured the batches with 38 tonnes of whey protein concentrate, proceeded in Fonterra's Hautapu plant in the Waikato, which testing by AgResearch found to be contaminated with the botulism-causing bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

However, the Ministry for Primary Industries yesterday revealed nearly 200 additional tests had found the bacterium was actually Clostridium sporogenes, which has no safety issues.

Ms Tap said the company's own testing had always shown the product were safe and had no botulism contamination.

The company had recalled about 67,000 tins of formula as a precautionary measure. Its products were now back on New Zealand shelves, including the products subject to the precautionary recall.

- APNZ

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